Is Shifting Our Perspective for Less Stress Just Propaganda?

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Since my diabetes diagnosis a few years ago, I’ve been on a mission to learn the latest science on personalized healing, nutrition, and disease. So I was interested to recently discover the Walsh Research Insitute that uses natural interventions to correct the biochemistry of people with mental disorders, ranging from autism to depression to bipolar disorders. As I enthusiastically proclaimed their approach to my husband, he shot me down by asking what proof they had to support it.

He had a valid concern, and I had just started looking into the institute’s references and studies, so I didn’t have a solid answer. But what I did know was how his questioning triggered my status threat response. Was he doubting my ability to discern good science from opinions and propaganda? After all, I had spent my career as a scientist in biotech!! Luckily I was able to pause, notice my reaction, and choose a Sage response. “Good question. What I’ve seen so far looks to be based in studies and research.”

Shirzad Chamine’s Positive Intelligence approach says that all stress is generated by our Saboteurs (survival instinct). And if we can shift to Sage mode, we can reduce our stress by looking for the gift or opportunity in the situation. This may sound simplistic or esoteric. That’s why I strongly appreciate Shirzad’s references back to the science. And, I appreciate finding even more evidence that convinces me that this concept is valid.

For example, I recently learned about Lazarus and Folkman’s famous Psychological Stress and Coping Model first published in their 1984 book, Stress, Appraisal, and Coping. Despite being described over 35 years ago, it remains the cornerstone of psychological stress and coping research across multiple fields.

The model says that stress is a process that starts with an appraisal of the situation. If we perceive it as a threat (our Saboteur in action), we will feel bad stress or distress. If we’re looking at it from our Sage, it will be easier to see it as a challenge with possible opportunities, resulting in good stress or eustress.

My husband’s questions about the validity of the Walsh approach triggered my saboteur and I saw it as a threat. It took a few seconds, but I was able to shift and appreciate his challenge using my sage.

Think about a current stress. Is there a way to shift and see it as a challenge instead of a threat?

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